How It All Began
Even though the present women's basketball program at Kansas State began intercollegiate play in 1968, the roots go back much further. Julius Terrass Willard, a chemistry professor from 1901-1944, penned this account shortly after his arrival at the school, explaining how the game took hold at the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. His account states that young women were the first students to begin playing the popular game in the spring of 1901.
Willard writes that several hundred people witnessed the first public basketball game at K-State on May 25, 1901 as the "Purples" took on the "Reds." The Purple team, consisting of team captain Frances McCreary, Gussie Griffing, Bessie Mudge, Cora Baird and Mable Stevens, scored a 9-2 victory over the Red team of captain Anna Summers, Myrtle Toothaker, Esther Hanson, Laura Ware and Olive Dunlap. Gertrude Williams, director of physical training at K-State, refereed the game.
Women continued to play basketball in the women's gymnasium, but it was announced on campus that they would not be allowed to play any more games outdoors. Furthermore, only immediate friends and families of the participants were allowed to attend. Interclass competitions were played, and at one point, the freshman team challenged the female members of the faculty. The freshman team came away with a resounding 46-4 victory over their instructors. In November of 1902, the young women asked for permission to play intercollegiate games, but the faculty turned down their request "on a close vote."
Over the next few years, groups of faculty members continued to use the women's gymnasium to play basketball, but according to Willard, "blacked eyes and other casualties and possibly other considerations, prevented any excessive development of the sport in the faculty."
The faculty's decision did not keep students from continuing to play basketball. Women continued to join intramural teams through the physical education program and compete between classes and sororities for the college championship. In fact, the 1921 Royal Purple reported that the women's game continued to grow in popularity and "almost 200 tried out for places on class teams. The class games were well attended, and a large amount of interest shown by others than the girls playing." However, it wasn't until the 1968-69 season that women's basketball was added as an intercollegiate sport.
K-State Women's Basketball Timeline
1901 - First women's basketball game played: Purples 9, Reds, 2.
1902 - K-State faculty turns down request for intercollegiate games.
1964 - Kansas State joins the Big Eight Conference with Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri.
1968 - Judy Akers named Kansas State's first women's basketball head coach; First intercollegiate game: K-State 38, Bethel 25; Kansas State reaches first postseason tournament, NWIT.
1971-72 - Wildcats make first appearance in AIAW Tournament; Kansas State hosts first regular season tournament; K-State posts first undefeated season in Ahearn Field House with a 6-0 record.
1972 - Title IX becomes law: Judy Akers leads the Wildcats to the program's 50th win with a 57-32 victory over Dickinson State on March 10, 1972.
1976 - LeAnn Wilcox earns Kansas State's first women's basketball scholarship.
1976 - Kansas State registers its first Big Eight Conference win with a 62-53 victory over Nebraska on Jan. 16, 1976.
1975-76 - Wildcats win first regular-season and championship Big Eight titles; Led by Janet Reusser's 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field, K-State captures the 100th victory in the program's history, an 80-37 win over KU on Jan. 24, 1975.
1975-76 - Kansas State beats first ranked team - No. 4 Stephen F. Austin, 63-46. Marsha Poppe and Janet Reusser tally 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Greta Sigel grabs a team-high 10 rebounds.
1976-77 - Kansas State earns its first national ranking - 19th - to open the 1976-77 season.
1978-79 - Judy Akers and the `Cats register the program's 200th win with a 64-62 victory at Missouri on Feb. 6, 1979. Laurie Miller and Tammie Romstad each scored 14 points for Kansas State.
1978-79 - Judy Akers resigns as K-State's head coach; Lynn Hickey named second Kansas State coach. 1979-80 - Kansas State posts its second undefeated season in Ahearn Field House (11-0).
1981-82 - Wildcats make first appearance in the NCAA Tournament; K-State reaches Elite Eight; Tammie Romstad named Kansas State's first Conference Player of the Year (Big Eight) and tournament MVP.
1982-83 - Priscilla Gary becomes K-State's first Kodak All-American; Kansas State reaches NCAA Sweet Sixteen; Wildcats post 14-0 record in Ahearn for the program's third undefeated season at home.
1982-83 - K-State gets its 300th victory of the program, a 78-68 win at Kansas on Feb. 23, 1983. Five Wildcats score in double figures, including 21 points by Angie Bonner and a double-double by Tina Dixon (20 points & 19 rebounds).
1983-84 - Wildcats make third-straight appearance in NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
1984-85 - Matilda Mossman takes over as the Wildcats' third coach.
1986-87 - Matilda Mossman named Big Eight Coach of the Year; Carlisa Thomas named Big Eight Tournament MVP; Wildcats post 13-0 record at home, the program's fourth undefeated season in Ahearn Field House.
1987-88 - First losing season in school history (8-20); Diana Miller begins first year at Kansas State.
1988-89 - Mary Jo Miller became first Wildcat to be named Big Eight Newcomer of the Year; Bramlage Coliseum dedicated.
1989-90 - Gaye Griffin named K-State's fourth head coach. With a 73-54 victory at Missouri State on Dec. 19, 1989, Kansas State records its 400th win for the program. Rita Marteucci tallied 25 points and 11 rebounds.
1990-91 - Susan Yow named Kansas State's fifth head coach; Diana Miller graduates as Kansas State's all-time leading scorer with 1,705 points.
1993-94 - Brian Agler named the Wildcats' sixth head coach; Shawnda DeCamp named Big Eight Newcomer of the Year. 1995-96 - Legendary coach Jack Hartman takes over the K-State coaching duties for the final seven games.
1995-96 - Kansas State wins its 500th game with an 80-67 victory over Oklahoma on Jan. 21, 1996. Jenny Coalson registered a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The win was later forfeited by K-State because of NCAA violations.
1996-97 - Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor join Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Nebraska to form the Big 12 Conference; Deb Patterson takes over as Kansas State's eighth head coach; Kansas State reaches postseason for the first time in 10 years by earning an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.
1996-97 - Kansas State records its first Big 12 Conference win with a 68-67 victory over Texas on Jan. 11, 1997.
1998-99 - Kansas State reaches second round of the WNIT.
2000-01 - Nicole Ohlde named Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
2001-02 - K-State reaches NCAA Sweet Sixteen; Deb Patterson named Big 12 Coach of the Year; Nicole Ohlde named AP honorable mention All-America; Kansas State ranked No. 11 in Associated Press Poll and No. 10 in USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll.
2001-02 - Five Wildcats score in double figures to help K-State record its 600th win in the program's history. The Wildcats beat Arkansas, 82-68, in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional.
2002-03 - Wildcats win 29 games, marking the most victories in the program's history; Team advances to the NCAA Tournament for a second-straight year; K-State ranks No. 2 in both polls on Nov. 25, 2002, the highest national ranking ever in school history. Nicole Ohlde named to the prestigious WBCA/Kodak All-America team, only the second player in school history to do so. Ohlde also named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and an AP first team All-America. Kendra Wecker receives AP third team All-America honors.
2003-04 - Kansas State reigns as Co-Big 12 Champions after going 14-2 in league play and tying Texas for a share of its first conference title since 1987. Nicole Ohlde repeats as Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and as a consensus first team All-American. Ohlde ends her storied four-year career as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Her No. 3 jersey is the first to be retired in school history on March 3, 2004.
2004-05 - The Wildcats made a school-record fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance after advancing to their first Big 12 Conference Championship Game since the league's inception in 1997. Kendra Wecker was named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-American. Wecker rewrote all of Nicole Ohlde's school records and became the first Wildcat and only the second player in Big 12 history to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Her No. 53 jersey is retired on Feb. 26, 2005. Wecker is part of an outstanding senior class that compiles a 104-27 overall record during their careers, marking the best four-year stretch in school history. Laurie Koehn leaves her mark as the NCAA's all-time leader in career three-pointers made (392).
2005-06 - The Wildcats captured the program's first-ever postseason title after cruising through the 2006 WNIT bracket at Bramlage Coliseum. Claire Coggins led the Wildcats en route to WNIT Most Valuable Player honors and Second Team All-Big 12 accolades. Freshman Shalee Lehning tied a K-State single-game record with 20 rebounds in a win over Louisiana Tech.
2006-07 - K-State made its sixth straight trip to the postseason and advanced to the WNIT Final Four. Head coach Deb Patterson became the all-time winningest women's basketball coach in K-State's history when the Wildcats defeated UMKC, 64-56, on Dec. 9, 2006 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. The Wildcats played their first triple overtime game in the program history when they fell to Wyoming in the Postseason WNIT semifinals.
2007-08 - K-State captured its second Big 12 regular season title and first outright league crown with a 13-3conference mark. The Wildcats earned the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the first since the 2005 season. Head coach Deb Patterson was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, WBCA Region V Coach of the Year and finished third in the Associated Press National Coach of the Year voting. Kimberly Dietz and Shalee Lehning were named to the All-Big 12 first team, while Marlies Gipson garnered All-Big 12 second team honors. Dietz was also named an AP All-America honorable mention selection.
2008-09 - The Wildcats earned the 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Shalee Lehning and Ashley Sweat were named to the All-Big 12 first team, while Marlies Gipson garnered All-Big 12 second team honors. Lehning was also named an AP All-America honorable mention selection, a Lowe's Senior All-American first team recipient and a CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America third team honoree. K-State placed a school and Big 12 record eight student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 first team. Gipson, Lehning and Sweat all surpassed the 1,000-point barrier during the season becoming the first trio of teammates to have scored 1,000-points in there career since the 2004-05 season. On March 1, K-State retired the jerseys of Tammie Romstad, Priscilla Gary and Lehning.
2009-10 - K-State became the 11th program in NCAA Division I history and the second school in the Big 12 to surpass the 775-win plateau in the program's history. Ashley Sweat became the third player in school history to score 1,800 points in her career (1,805) and settled in to third in school history on the career scoring list. Sweat garnered her second All-Big 12 first team honor and was also selected to the Lowe's Senior All-America first team and the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America third team. Freshman Brittany Chambers was the only freshman in the Big 12 to register 350+ points, 180+ rebounds and 80+ assists.
2010-11 - Garnered the program’s 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the eighth in the Deb Patterson era, as K-State was an at-large selection to with a number 8-seed to the Philadelphia region. Registered the 22nd 20-win season in school history and the eighth during Patterson’s tenure with a 21-11 record. K-State became the 13th program in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history and the second school in the Big 12 to surpass the 800-win plateau with a 69-64 win at Nebraska on Feb. 19, 2011. Exceeded the Big 12 coaches’ preseason expectations of a ninth-place finish with a 10-6 record and a tie for third in the league standings. Patterson secured the 300th win of her career with a 56-53 win over Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals. Wildcats registered a pair of wins over Associated Press top-15 teams: No. 14 St. John’s and No. 5, and eventual national champion, Texas A&M. The win over the Aggies was the fourth win in school history over a top-5 opponent. Brittany Chambers and Jalana Childs were named to the All-Big 12 first and second teams, respectively. Chambers also garnered Academic All-Big 12 first team honors, Capital One Academic All-District VII third team honors and two Big 12 Player of the Week citations. Chambers finished the season as one of two players in the Big 12 and the only sophomore guard in NCAA Division I to card 500+ points, 180+ rebounds and 80+ assists. Chambers set the school record for three-point field goals made by a sophomore and finished ranked fifth in school history for three-point field goals made in a season with 88.
2011-12 - Big 12 switches to an 18-game round-robin league schedule after the defections of Colorado (Pac-12) and Nebraska (Big Ten). Made the 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the ninth in the Patterson era, as the No. 8 seed in the Kingston Region. Exceeded Big 12 coaches preseason poll’s predicted finish of ninth by carding nine wins in league play and a tie for fourth in the league standings. Tied for the second-most games played in a season (34). Registered the 23rd 20-win season in the program’s history. Notched three wins over ranked opponents, including two over AP top-10 ranked foes. Recorded the 8th highest average attendance (4,069) in school history. Team held 11 opponents to 49 points or fewer. Notched 272 steals, which were the most since the 2005-06 season. Set the school record for televised games in a season with 23. For the first time since at least the 1986-87 season, Kansas State used the same starting lineup for all 34 games (Branshea Brown, Brittany Chambers, Jalana Childs, Tasha Dickey and Mariah White). K-State was the only team in the Big 12 to have the same lineup for every game and were one of 3 teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament to use the same starting lineup for every game. Junior guard Brittany Chambers and senior forward Jalana Childs earned All-Big 12 first team honors from the league’s coaches. Chambers also garnered Academic All-Big 12 first team honors, while Childs was an Academic All-Big 12 second team selection. Chambers and Childs became the 37th and 38th players, respectively, in school history to surpass the 1,000-point mark in their careers. Chambers and Childs became the 22nd and 23rd players, respectively, in the program’s history to register 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in their careers. For the first time since the 2003-04 season, K-State had three players on its roster with 500 or more career rebounds (Brown, Chambers and Childs). Chambers was one of two players in the Big 12 and 1 of 15 guards in the nation to notch 400+ points, 200+ rebounds and 70+ assists. Chambers set the school record for minutes played in a season with 1,247. Childs set the school record for points in a Big 12 Championship game with 31 against Iowa State on March 8, 2012. Sophomore guard Mariah White earned her first Big 12 Player of the Week honor. In total, four student-athletes earned Academic All-Big 12 honors with three on the first team (Chambers, JuliAnne Chisholm, and Emma Ostermann) and one on the second team (Childs).
K-State Hall of Famers
Priscilla Gary-Sweeney (1982-83): Women's Basketball, 1998 Induction Class
Judy Akers (1968-79): Women's Basketball Coach, 2003 Induction Class
Lynn Hickey (1979-84): Women's Basketball Coach, 2004 Induction Class
K-State Retired Jersey Numbers
#3 - Nicole Ohlde (2000-04) - jersey retired on March 3, 2004
#53 - Kendra Wecker (2001-05) - jersey retired Feb. 26, 2005
#33 - Tammie Romstad (1979-82) - jersey retired March 1, 2009
#10 - Priscilla Gary (1982-83) - jersey retired March 1, 2009
#5 - Shalee Lehning (2005-09) - jersey retired March 1, 2009